Erythronium americanum

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Yellow trout lily
Erythronium americanum full Radnor Lake.jpg
Erythronium americanum
Radnor Lake, Tennessee
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Erythronium
Species: E. americanum
Binomial name
Erythronium americanum

Erythronium flavum Sm.

Erythronium americanum (Trout lily, Yellow trout lily, Yellow dogtooth violet) is a species of perennial spring ephemeral flower native to North America and dwelling in woodland habitats. The common name "Trout lily" refers to the appearance of its gray-green leaves mottled with brown or gray, which allegedly resemble the coloring of brook trout.[2][3]

The range is from Labrador south to Georgia, west to Mississippi, and north to Minnesota.[4][5]


Trout lily blooms in early spring with nodding one-inch yellow flowers, the petals (3) and petal-like sepals (3) recurved upward. Each plant sends up a single flower stem with a pair of leaves, but for the first 7 years of the plants life it will not flower.[3][4][6] In North America E. americanum does not reproduce very effectively via sexual reproduction with only 10% of polinatated flowers developing seeds.[7][7]

In North America trout lilies grow in colonies that can be up to 300 years old.[1][2] The individuals will often reproduce asexually via a "dropper" or from small corms budding off of the main corm. A dropper is a tubular fleshy stem that grows out of a corm and then penetrates deep into the soil before another corm is formed at its tip and the stem connecting the daughter and parent corm dies.[7]

Trout lily Erythronium americanum im
In Guelph, Ontario, Canada


  1. ^ a b Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  2. ^ a b Coulber, Sarah. "Trout Lily – Erythronium americanum". Canada Wildlife Federation. Retrieved 25 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
  4. ^ a b Thieret, John W. (2001). National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers, Eastern Region (revised ed.). Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 
  5. ^ Biota of North America Program 2014 county distribution map
  6. ^ The plant grows from a corm, or underground bulb. The bulbs of E. americanum are burried very deeply compared to other lily family plants.Ker Gawler, John Bellenden. (1808). Botanical Magazine 28: pl. 1113
  7. ^ a b c Bernhardt, Peter (2003). Wily violets & underground orchids : revelations of a botanist (University of Chicago Press ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226043661. 

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